Erica Parsons was 13 in 2011 when she went missing from her home in Salisbury, North Carolina. She wasn’t reported missing until 2013. Her adoptive parents, Casey and Sandy Parsons, continued to collect Erica’s government benefits while she was missing. Casey Parsons claimed Erica went to live with her biological grandmother ‘Nan’ who didn’t actually exist. The couple was eventually sent to prison for fraud but in 2016, Sandy Parsons led authorities to Erica’s remains. Both Parsonses have been charged with Erica’s murder. In April of last year, prosecutors stated that they will seek the death penalty against Sandy Parsons, Erica’s adopted father.
Last week, it was reported that prosecutors will be trying Sandy and Casey Parsons separately. Casey Parsons has had her trial date set for April of 2020 while Sandy Parsons trial date has not yet been announced. In my very unprofessional opinion, it seems like prosecutors will try to leverage the testimony from Casey Parsons’ trial against her husband in order to try to get a guilty plea from Sandy Parsons. If Sandy is convicted, prosecutors will probably offer a deal to Sandy Parsons that they’ll take the death penalty off the table if he pleads guilty.
While I believe that Sandy Parsons is well-deserving of the death penalty, in the long run, prosecutors will probably be better off if Parsons is sentenced to life without parole. Even in conservative states, the death penalty is falling out of favor. North Carolina itself has not executed anyone in 13 years. Due to the surmounting Constitutional pressures surrounding the death penalty, it would probably free up much of the court’s time if it didn’t have to deal with the many appeals I’m sure would be filed to stop Parsons’ execution.
UPDATE 10/30/2019: Sandy Parsons is set to go to trial on April 6th, 2020.